ERA clears way for Amazonia redevelopment but St Paul’s Bay council objects

​A proposed redevelopment of the Amazonia beach club in St Paul’s Bay will increase the height of the project by 11.5m above the existing promenade

A proposed redevelopment of the Amazonia beach club in St Paul’s Bay will increase the height of the project by 11.5m above the existing promenade. But the Environment and Resources Authority concluded that this will have little visual impact on the densely urbanised locality.

The St Paul’s Bay local council has formally objected to the proposed extension.

The Amazonia complex is located on the foreshore between Bugibba’s perched beach and the Dolmen resort, linked to the hotel through an underground passage beneath Dawret il-Gżejjer.

Plans submitted by the Tumas Group, which owns the Dolmen hotel, foresee an upgrade of the Amazonia resort through the construction of a new promenade level, where two new kiosks with outside tables and a public open space are also being proposed on top of two pool deck levels.

Two restaurants, a water sports area and a pool deck are being proposed on a second lower level, beneath the promenade. A third level located below the restaurants will include showers, toilets, changing rooms, a children’s pool and a massive 370sq.m adults’ pool, increasing the pool deck area from 360sq.m, to almost 2,000sq.m.

“Whilst such increase in massing will intensify the visual prominence of the development on site, it is unlikely that this increase will significantly affect the visual amenity of the area, noting that this area is already densely built up, whereby even the coastal strip is committed to development and surrounded by intensive urban buildings,” the ERA concluded.

ERA also recognised that the redevelopment will intensify development with gross floor area growing to 7,700sq.m, but conceded this is limited to the existing footprint of the beach club and no additional land or coastal area will be taken up.

The site is already committed for commercial uses and the foreshore will remain accessible to the general public. The project will create nearly over 11,000cb.m of construction and demolition waste, but the ERA said this amount “is not considered significant as long as efforts are done to maximise the reuse of such material.”

The ERA called for the reconstruction of an “unsightly boundary wall” facing the Area of High Landscape Value and Area of Ecological Importance to the north of the site, which should be more compatible with the surrounding environment. It also wants a lighting plan, to avoid additional light pollution, and a Works Method Statement (WMS) to prevent spillages into the marine environment and minimise dust and noise generation.

The owners say the project has “potential” to improve the area’s character by introducing a new open space “providing” views of San Pawl il-Baħar from the promenade. “However, the proposed increase in the height of the Scheme and the establishment of a promenade level catering facility will impact the landscape and visual amenity of the promenade in breach of the North West Local Plan policies,” the owners’ project statement states.

In fact, the local plan approved in 2006 limits the height of any extension to coastal developments in the area to one which does not “exceed the height of any existing legal structure within the site”. Moreover, any increase in “solid structures” on the promenade is ruled out to ensure that views onto the bay are not obstructed. As proposed the complex will have a footprint of 3,900sq.m, the same as the present development.